In the upcoming "Doctor Strange" film, Tilda Swinton will play Strange's mentor, the Ancient One -- who is traditionally depicted in Marvel Comics as an Asian male character. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explained how they chose Swinton for the role and why the character will be "very androgynous."
Feige explained how the change came about, saying, "I think if you look at some of the early incarnations of the Ancient One in the comics, they are what we would consider today to be quite, sort of, stereotypical. They don't hold up to what would work today. Also, within the storyline of the comics, and our movie, 'the Ancient One' is a title that many people have had. We hit very early on on, What if the Ancient One was a woman? What if the title had been passed and the current Ancient One is a woman? Oh, that's an interesting idea. [Clicks fingers.] Tilda Swinton! Whoa! And it just hit."
"She has this amazing [ability to] harness of this androgynous sense. So, we use the term 'her' and 'she' in the film but, other than that, it's very androgynous. Because it doesn't matter," he added.
"I think it's all in the eye of the beholder," Swinton herself weighed in when asked about her character's gender.